Mad Crab Mojave: Chapter 61

In which Jones obtains new delivery focus

That night, Jones’s dreams careened wildly around the edges of his recent experience. He was walking on high rocky ridge, early in the morning, enjoying a cool breeze. He looked out over the valley. It was a beautiful world. He was on the edge of the ocean, with a view of the Pacific, overlooking the burning desert and the scuffling of the Mad Crab - but the desert was his, and he was in control of it. The sea of humanity. As he stared down the barrel of a gun, he heard the crackling of a photon in the distance. A few minutes later, the sound disappeared. The waves faded as the sun came up, casting the sea of humanity ghostly in its place. The dry and desert air were almost perfect for desalinization. A single molecule of water in the world could not penetrate much further than the thermal boundary of the Sahara Desert, until a tiny number of molecules from the sky were drawn together by thermodynamic forces, triggering chemical changes in the microscopic world. As the temperature climbed, the amount of water in the air became more and more, and more. The wind died down, and then the sun came out. The temperature climbed above 90 degrees. The wind was so high that it was impossible to find the source of the wind. 

Jones woke up on the couch of his boarded up detective agency in a cold sweat. He wiped the accumulated moisture away from the bridge of his nose. Something bothered him about the potatobase. Walking out into the foyer of his office, called Bugs.

“What’s up?” answered Bugs.

“Why potatoes?” asked Jones. “Why not silicone instead, or a quantum chip?”

“Oh yeah,” said Bugs. “Great question. We considered using qubits instead of potatoes. Natasha wouldn’t have it - said qubits are too finicky. Noise, temperature change, an electrical fluctuation or vibration—all of these things can disturb a qubit’s operation and cause it to lose its data. Potatoes, she said, just work. She’s very conservative, likes control. My thing is, you can eat potatoes when you want to get rid of old backups, or compost them if they get totally corrupted. Then you just grow new potatoes, you already have the compost. The cost is much, much lower. We’re trying to get away from silicone for security reasons. Everyone and their father knows how to hack a conventional microprocessor these days.”

Jones rested his head in his hands and groaned. “I know where Mad Crab took the military-grade quantum supercomputer,” he said. 

“The Mojave Desert?” guessed Bugs.

“Yes,” said Jones. “Specifically, to the only place in the Mojave Desert with a train connection, reliable power, and a place to dump all the excess heat from the supercomputer’s cooling system.” 

Jones’s hands shook as he gripped the phone.

“I need a ride, Bugs. It may already be too late to get to the Hoover Dam.”